These photos were taken Friday and Saturday, October 7 and 8, days three and four of my Craft Beer Tour 2022. As I mentioned early on, my sister (Ruth) was in a major train accident back in June and was pretty jacked up, so Friday, before we did anything else, I had to take her to get more x-rays. After that we headed up to her cabin in Dublin. On Saturday we visited Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City and Hop Lot Brewing Company in Suttons Bay.
Ruth’s appointment was around noon, and she knew there was a craft beer bar fairly close to the medical center that I could hang out at while she did her thing. She sent me to HopCat, a craft beer bar with numerous locations, this one in Grand Rapids and only sold beer brewed in Michigan. Okay, that is not exactly true; they also sell a wide variety of food, and some hard seltzers. They had about 40 options available.
I have to admit, I was a little bummed that Ruth’s doctor visit only lasted an hour, because I could have had a great time there. I had just finished my Hoplicated Imperial Pale Ale from Odd Side Ales when I was trying to decide between the Bark Lord Imperial Stout from Transient Artisan Ales and a 2018 Founders CBS, when I got the message it was time to pick her up. Bark Lord was phenomenal, but my server offered me a small crowler of the Founders to-go, so that is what I took with me.
The HopCat location I visited is located at 25 Ionia Ave SW in Grand Rapids. They are open seven days a week, are family friendly, and offer both food and beer to-go.
After picking Ruth up, we headed to her cabin a couple hours north in Dublin. While it is beautiful up there, there wasn’t much in the way of internet or craft beer, so I definitely appreciated the CBS (and Dragon’s Milk) I had brought.
The next morning we were supposed to begin our search for craft breweries in the Upper Peninsula area in earnest, but we got a VERY late start, plus Ruth wanted to show me around a few places.
After checking out Hodenpyl Dam/Pond we headed further north to Traverse City and Right Brain Brewery, a production brewery.
Right Brain Brewery borders Boardman Lake, so I took a few photos before heading in. As I approached the entrance, I could not help but notice kids with their family that were rushing inside; it turns out they have a pretty nice pinball arcade as soon as you walk in.
Right Brain Brewery opened in 2007, but eventually outgrew the first location and moved to their current one around 2018. They boast having more than 30 beers on tap at all times. We sat at the bar and ordered up a Looping Owl Amber Ale for Ruth and I had half pours of Our Hops Are Fresher Than Yours, Free Play Citra IPA and Dead Kettle IPA; I think Free Play was my favorite.
Right Brain Brewery is located at 225 E. 16th Street in Traverse City. They are open Thursday through Tuesday, have snacks available for sale (or you can bring your own food), and offer cans to-go.
While at Right Brain we asked for recommendations for the Suttons Bay area and were told we should check out Hop Lot Brewing Company, a brewpub with a beer garden.
Hop Lot Brewing is a cool spot; it is along the Grand Traverse Bay as well as being in the middle of hiking trails. It has an indoor area with what seemed like limited seating, probably due to how crowded it was. They also have a very large beer garden outside that has some of the 18 beers, cider, and wines that were available outside. It was pretty damned cold, but there was no line at the outdoor bar, and they had the wet hopped Harvest Ale IPA available so we each got one and sought out one of the heaters or campfires. The cold was winning.
When Drew, a co-founder who was working the outside area, assured me that my tab could be pulled up inside and the tips were split among all we took another shot at finding a table. Ruth got some kind of sandwich and I got a brat that was pretty good.
While waiting for our food, Drew took me to the 10bbl brewhouse where I was introduced to his brother Steve, the brewer and another co-founder.
In a nutshell, they opened in 2015 with a 3bbl system. Due to the popularity of their beer, the 3bbl system could not keep up and they would frequently run out of certain beers; the current 10bbl system seems to have taken care of that problem as they are now able to sell beer to-go.
Hop Lot Brewing Company is located 658 SW Bay Shore Drive in Suttons Bay. They open seven days a week at noon.
While I was off taking photos, Ruth was trying to find a place for us to spend the night. The combination of it being a Saturday and with the large influx of “leafers” (people there to watch the fall foliage) it soon became obvious that we were going to have to drive 70 miles home, and start over early the next day. Oh well, it’s not an adventure without a u-turn. Cheers!